Support for Spain’s Socialist government rising.

According to the results of survey carried out by Spain’s Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas, CIS and published yesterday, the Socialist Party has doubled its lead over the Popular Party during its first month in power. Since the March elections, the socialist’s have seen their popularity rise steadily, and according to the results of the latest CIS survey, they now have a 10.4% lead over the Popular Party.

The Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas (CIS) [Centre for Sociological Research] is an autonomous state agency attached to the Office of the Presidency of Spain, whose purpose is to study Spanish society, primarily through survey-based research. It carries out regular surveys to measure the Spanish population support for political parties, leaders and policies. This latest report estimates that if elections were held now in Spain, the POSE party would win 45,8% of the vote and the PAP 35,4%. The most popular party leader at the moment is Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (6,61) and the second most popular party leader is Aznar’s successor, Mariano Rajoy (4,83).

The results of this first post-election CIS survey is one of the main headlines in all the Spanish press this morning, because of the proximity of the European Elections.

According to the CIS survey, 76,8% of Spanish citizens support the Government’s decision to withdraw from Iraq. Yesterday the Spanish Congress voted to support the decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. The PP was the only party that voted against the policy. The first contingent of Spanish soldiers arrive home this evening.

Finally, political commentators are, at the very least, rather surprised at the visit of ex-President Aznar to the US. According to press reports, Aznar travels to Los Angeles today, where tomorrow he will meet with Arnold Schwarzenegger and will be awarded the medal of the University of Chapman.

On Tuesday he will have a meeting with George Bush and, possibly, Donald Rumsfeld. According to the Cadena Ser, the timing of this trip and especially the meeting with Donald Rumsfeld, has been criticised from within the Popular Party.